National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Bath of Venus François Boucher (artist)
French, 1703 - 1770
The Bath of Venus, 1751
oil on canvas
overall: 107 x 84.8 cm (42 1/8 x 33 3/8 in.) framed: 132.1 x 110.2 x 7.6 cm (52 x 43 3/8 x 3 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
On View
From the Tour: 18th-Century France — Boucher and Fragonard
Object 1 of 8


Painted for Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour [1721-1764] and installed in the appartement des bains in the Château de Bellevue, outside Paris; removed c. 1757; recorded 1764 in the vestibule of the ground floor of the Hôtel d'Evreux, Pompador's Parisian residence; by inheritance to her brother, Abel François Poisson, marquis de Ménars et de Marigny [1727-1781], Château de Ménars, Paris; installed in the gallery of Marigny's residence, rue St. Thomas du Louvre, Paris, by 1777;[1] (his estate sale, at his residence by Basan and Joullain, Paris, 18 March-6 April 1782 [postponed from late February], no. 21); purchased by Jean Baptiste Pierre Le Brun [1748-1813], Paris and London.[2] Baron Alfred Charles de Rothschild [1842-1918], Halton House, near Wendover, Buckinghamshire, by 1884;[3] bequest to Grace Elvina Hinds Duggan Curzon, marchioness of Curzon [1879-1958], Kedleston Hall, Derby, Derbyshire; (her sale, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, 22 April 1932, no. 80); Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; gift 1943 to NGA.

[1] The painting was recorded there in 1777, when the marquis had them cleaned by Hoogstael. The documents, in the Archives de la Ville in Paris, Fonds Marigny, NA 102, fol. 90 verso, were discovered by Alden Gordon, and his notes from them were sent with a letter to David Rust dated 15 March 1983, all in NGA curatorial files.

[2] Paul Matthews, of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, kindly brought to the Gallery's attention a Boucher Venus and Cupids that appeared in the 1785 sale of Noël Desenfans (d. 1807), a dealer who was one of Le Brun's business partners (sale, Christie's, London, May 11-14, 1785, 2nd day, no. 53; e-mail to Curatorial Records, May 6, 2004, NGA curatorial files). There is no description of the painting in the sale catalogue, so it is not possible to say with certainty that this was the Gallery's painting. The purchaser at the 1785 sale was recorded as "Dillon," who also purchased two other lots. Marijke Booth, of Christie's Archives Department, suggests that this could either be Charles Dillon-Lee, 12th viscount Dillon (1745-1813) or Edward Count Dillon (1751-1839), both collectors during this period (e-mail to Anne Halpern, August 9, 2007, NGA curatorial files).

[3] Alfred did not inherit the painting from his father, and the painting is not included in Alfred's 1884 catalogue, so he must have acquired it himself at a later date (e-mail from Michael Hall, curator to Edmund de Rothschild, to Anne Halpern, August 3, 2008, NGA curatorial files).

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